Hipster Architecture: The Rise of the Shipping Container

The dowdy shipping container is becoming the “go to” material for trendy designers interested in sustainability and utility. In addition to having a minimalist appeal, shipping containers also have some practical advantages as a construction material: they’re very sturdy and inexpensive, compared to conventional building materials. Designers around the world are incorporating used shipping containers in a variety of products, from inexpensive housing to office spaces, trendy restaurants and galleries.

Shipping container architecture is becoming particularly popular in urban settings, as stacking shipping containers is an easy way to quickly build multi-story structures. Shipping containers are specifically designed to be stacked on oceangoing vessels, so they’re readily adaptable to being stacked on land.

Some cities have enacted ordinances regulating shipping container construction as the design form has become more popular. Much of these ordinances deal with making the container architecture look less industrial and more like an organic part of their neighborhoods.

When considering incorporating shipping containers in design, property owners should consider:

  • Whether containers will work well with the space available
  • Whether local regulations will impact their ability to use containers for a project
  • The practicality of using container architecture at the building site
  • Whether shipping container architecture is the most cost-effective option
  • Whether shipping container architecture will work well aesthetically in the area

In many cases, shipping container architecture will work well for a project, providing an eye-catching and efficient means of producing sturdy, high quality structures for businesses and residential living.